Honolulu (pool)

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Honolulu, also known as banks, kisses and combinations, and as indirect, is a call-shot pocket billiards game in which players must pocket all shots in an indirect fashion to reach a set number of points.[1] According to the Billiard Congress of America, the governing body for billiards in the United States, Honolulu presents players with "an unending kaleidoscope of strategic and shot-making challenges."[2]


Honolulu is generally played between two players or two teams. The object of the game is to score 8 points by pocketing 8 balls in a legitimate manner. What is and what is not considered legitimate is where the game diverges from more common pool game objectives. In Honolulu, "straight-in" shots are absolutely forbidden. Scoring shots are limited to: 1) banks; 2) combinations; 3) caroms/kisses; 4) kick shots; or 5) some composite thereof.[2]

One additional dictum is that kick shots cannot be made by "short-rail kicks." This means that for a legal kick shot, the cue ball must be first kicked off a cushion unconnected with the target pocket.[2] Just like all call-shot games, under official rules it is never necessary to call every detail of a shot – indeed, not even whether a shot will be a bank, kiss, combination or kick – the only details necessary are to designate the ball and target pocket.[3] Honolulu also follows the 1985 Vaso Amendment. Under it, a player may elect to call more than one ball on a single shot, but all balls thus called must be potted in the pocket(s) designated or none count.[2]

At the start of honolulu, the balls are racked on a pool table's foot spot, with a full set of fifteen object balls placed in random order. On the opening break shot, the player must either call a ball out of the rack and an intended pocket, or cause two object balls and the cue ball to strike a rail. The failure to do so is a foul.[2]

As in the more prevalent game of one-pocket, the penalty for all fouls in Honolulu is the loss of a point, meaning one previously pocketed ball must be returned to the table's surface. Such spotted balls are placed on the table's long string as close as possible to the foot spot, and frozen or as close as possible to frozen to any balls already occupying that space in the direction of the foot rail. However, if the occupying ball is the cue ball, the spotted ball shall not be frozen to it. If a player has no balls to spot, the penalty is owed, and at the end of the player's next scoring inning, the requisite number of balls owed are replaced.[2]


  1. ^ Shamos, Michael Ian (1993). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. New York City: Lyons & Burford. p. 117. ISBN 1-55821-219-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f BCA Rules Committee (1998). Billiards - The Billiard Congress of America Official Rules and Records Book (50th anniversary commemorative ed.). Coralville, Iowa: Billiard Congress of America. pp. 81–2, 132–3. ISBN 1-878493-08-6.
  3. ^ Billiard Congress of America (1995–2005). General Rules of Pocket Billiards - Rule 3.4 Archived 2006-12-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved December 21, 2006.